Like so many other parents, we never imagined co-sleeping with our children. I also had no idea you can’t plan for it because all kids are different.
I started off my parenting journey with the expectation of keeping our daughter in our room for a few weeks. We had a beautiful nursery set up, waiting for her to use it. At night, she slept soundly in her bassinet, where I carefully placed her after each nighttime feeding.
She seemed like a dream baby, aside from the fact that sleeping through the night took a long time to happen. I had no idea the wrench her brother would throw me in just a few years.
Our High-Needs Baby
Our baby boy entered the world on July 4th, ringing in one of my favorite holidays. He was our little firecracker, and he was determined to show us he had opinions early.
Unlike his sister, laying my son in the bassinet was never a choice. The only place he slept well was in my arms or on my chest. If we attempted to lay him down, even in the hospital, he woke with a start, and cried for hours. I realized quickly he wasn’t like our daughter.
Co-sleeping became necessary to survive. We purchased a co-sleeper that hooked directly to our bed. I spent many nights with my hand on him, hoping to keep him asleep. As he got older, he spent more time with us in bed. In fact, our now 5-year-old still makes his way into bed with us most nights for snuggles, or so he tells me.
The Third Baby, Different Once Again
I figured our third child, also a boy, would be like his brother. Our plan was to co-sleep for as long as he wanted because we wanted everyone to get the most sleep possible.
The plan worked well for the first six months of his life. My third child is rather easy going, and he slept most places easily. Imagine my surprise when suddenly, he was fighting every single night. I had no idea what was wrong! He was with me at night. He nursed whenever he wanted. What did he want?
I had the idea one night to put him in his crib after his first feeding. To my surprise, he slept exceptionally well! It turns out that my dearest son cannot stand to be cramped in a small co-sleeper or his mother’s arms at night. He wants to roll around in his space. I was, and still am, pleasantly surprised by his move to his crib.
We are expecting baby number four to join our family in March. Instead of making a specific sleeping plan, I’ve realized every baby is different. We will have a bassinet or co-sleeper close by our bed. We will also have a crib set up if our baby happens to be like his brother. Ultimately, we have learned that nothing we can do or plan will alter our child’s personality.